The UFC is dying for more mainstream media coverage. As someone who has witnessed what goes on in sports radio for the last 20 years, I've cautioned:
Be careful what you wish for!
When national columnists, who opine in print or talk for a living on television, never have to face the targets of their ire, the trash-talk can get pretty nasty.
Mike Freeman from CBSSports unloaded on Dana White after seeing his profanity-filled attack on a female journalist during his first Ultimate Fight Night 18 vlog:
White is an awful human being that lacks basic human decency. Dana White is garbage, his sport is garbage and anyone who watches it is a garbage collector.
Freeman also says the media covering the UFC is gutless:
Are we surprised by White's actions? Ah, no. I've been saying for some time that White is an out of control, foul-mouthed bully of Promethean proportions and still he's not challenged for his behavior (mostly) by the media that covers him because they're either afraid of White or worried about losing the money he doles out to various sycophants in the press.
Before you start screaming, "he's right, the media is filled with a bunch of Dana White nuthuggers!", I'd like to know what happened when my co-hort Maggie Hendricks wrote about how reprehensible White's words were? Did anyone check the comments from our readers? That's right, 90-percent of you attacked Hendricks and backed White.
White is an aggressive 39-year-old promoter/president. His approach is different than the other heads of sport. Freeman makes that about the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.:
I don't see Roger Goodell using the B-word when speaking publicly. He behaves like a gentleman. So do David Stern and Bud Selig. Has there ever been a time when any of those commissioners publicly expressed homophobic sentiments or made misogynistic statements? Yet White has the propensity to act like a baboon and no one blinks an eye.
Freeman is right, Goodell, Selig and Stern are savvy enough to not use bad or offensive language in public. They pull the wool over the fan's and media's eyes with a degree of smugness.
During the lead-up to the 2007 NBA All-Star game in Las Vegas David Stern chided ESPNRadio1100 host Paul Howard for asking if the commissioner had worries about game fixing in his sport. Stern, in his utterly smarmy way responded, "frankly, I'm shocked you asked the question, you should know better than to ask that."
Funny enough, NBA referees were routinely hanging around Las Vegas sportsbooks and one Tim Donaghy was part of an elaborate game fixing scandal. Don't forget all the "tough, real" NBA reporters like Stephen A. Smith, David Stein and Ric Bucher (all league mouthpieces) who scoffed at the legitimacy of the Donaghy story when it first came out.
Or should we mention how "classy" Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell have been by allowing violence against females and DUI's to run rampant in their league during the 2000's? Where was the "legit" NFL media to break the Pacman Jones story that first week after he started a melee in a Las Vegas strip club that resulted in Tom Urbanski being paralyzed for life? Chris Mortensen, Peter King, Len Pasquarelli, John Clayton, Howard Balzer and every other "insider" wouldn't touch the story. Jay Glazer and yours truly were the only ones to put forth the story over the first three days.
No one here is saying that White's rant wasn't ridiculous and offensive. He apologized to GLAAD but he still needs to address the b*tch comment as well. Let's cut the crap with the praise for how wonderful the commissioners in the other leagues are. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention Bud Selig's rubber-stamping of baseball's steroid use for 15 years. But we don't feel too bad since Hall of Famers like Peter Gammons conveniently forgot to do any reporting on the subject during that time period.
Freeman may be my favorite national columnist but he can't truly believe all MMA fans are scum and his generalizing about one group of media folks is ridiculous when he knows damn well about what goes on with the kiss-asses covering other sports.
Freeman does have an awful impression of MMA fans from the comments on his CBS' stories anytime he talks about the sport. How about MMA fans respond intelligently this time around, try to resist calling his home and terrorizing him for expressing an opinion? It might help his perception of the sport.